Elon Musk Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Elon Musk. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.
Elon Musk
If the rules are such that you can’t make progress, then you have to fight the rules.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
There needs to be a reason for a grade. I’d rather play video games, write software, and read books than try and get an A if there’s no point in getting an A.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
Elon Musk
You get paid in direct proportion to the difficulty of problems you solve
Elon Musk
You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.
Elon Musk
My proceeds from the PayPal acquisition were $180 million. I put $100 million in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla, and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.
Elon Musk
I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better.
Elon Musk
It is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.
Elon Musk
One thing that Musk holds in the highest regard is resolve, and he respects people who continue on after being told no.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Constantly seek criticism. A well thought out critique of whatever you’re doing is as valuable as gold.
Elon Musk
We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
I think it would be great to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact.
Elon Musk
No, I don't ever give up. I'd have to be dead or completely incapacitated
Elon Musk
As his ex-wife, Justine, put it, “He does what he wants, and he is relentless about it. It’s Elon’s world, and the rest of us live in it.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
If you need inspiration, don't do it.
Elon Musk
I'm not trying to be anyone's savior. I'm just trying to think about the future and not be sad.
Elon Musk
I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.
Elon Musk
The first step is to establish that something is possible then probability will occur.
Elon Musk
He points out that one of the really tough things is figuring out what questions to ask,” Musk said. “Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy. I came to the conclusion that really we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask.” The teenage Musk then arrived at his ultralogical mission statement. “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
If you told him that you made a particular choice because ‘it was the standard way things had always been done,’ he’d kick you out of a meeting fast.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
Elon Musk
He seems to feel for the human species as a whole without always wanting to consider the wants and needs of individuals.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
I’d rather play video games, write software, and read books than try and get an A if there’s no point in getting an A.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Any product that needs a manual to work is broken.
Elon Musk
The idea of lying on a beach as my main thing just sounds like the worst. It sounds horrible to me. I would go bonkers. I would have to be on serious drugs. I’d be super-duper bored. I like high intensity.
Elon Musk
The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I think there are probably too many smart people pursuing Internet stuff, finance, and law,” Musk said on the way. “That is part of the reason why we haven’t seen as much innovation.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
One of the really tough things is figuring out what questions to ask. Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy.
Elon Musk (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Everything he does is fast,” Brogan said. “He pees fast. It’s like a fire hose—three seconds and out. He’s authentically in a hurry.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
I came to the conclusion that we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask. Really, the only thing tht makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.
Elon Musk
Money is not his motivation, and, quite frankly, I think it just happens for him,” Justine said. “It’s just there. He knows he can generate it.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I take the position that I'm always to some degree wrong, and the aspiration is to be less wrong.
Elon Musk
Constantly think about how you could be doing things better.
Elon Musk
I just look at it as ‘What grades do I need to get where I want to go?
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to ten—how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe ten hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
That’s my lesson for taking a vacation: vacations will kill you.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
What’s fascinating is that Musk remains willing to lose it all.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
He’s been known to obsess over typos in e-mails to the point that he could not see past the errors and read the actual content of the messages. Even in social settings, Musk might get up from the dinner table without a word of explanation to head outside and look at the stars, simply because he’s not willing to suffer fools or small talk.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
What Musk has developed that so many of the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley lack is a meaningful worldview. He’s the possessed genius on the grandest quest anyone has ever concocted. He’s less a CEO chasing riches than a general marshaling troops to secure victory. Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to . . . well . . . save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
To me, Elon is the shining example of how Silicon Valley might be able to reinvent itself and be more relevant than chasing these quick IPOs and focusing on getting incremental products out,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
To the extent that the world still doubts Elon, I think it’s a reflection on the insanity of the world and not on the supposed insanity of Elon.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
One of the biggest mistakes we made was trying to automate things that are super easy for a person to do, but super hard for a robot to do.
Elon Musk
Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.  
Elon Musk
In terms of the Internet, it's like humanity acquiring a collective nervous system. Whereas previously we were more like a [?], like a collection of cells that communicated by diffusion. With the advent of the Internet, it was suddenly like we got a nervous system. It's a hugely impactful thing.
Elon Musk
The family adopted a motto: “Live dangerously—carefully.
Walter Isaacson (Elon Musk)
I could go and buy one of the islands in the Bahamas and turn it into my personal fiefdom, but I am much more interested in trying to build and create a new company.
Elon Musk
If you were negative or thought something couldn’t be done, you were not invited to the next meeting,” Mueller recalls. “He just wanted people who would make things happen.
Walter Isaacson (Elon Musk)
They were building a Ferrari for every launch, when it was possible that a Honda Accord might do the trick.
Elon Musk (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
The company would pick a plan of attack, and when it failed at something, it failed fast and then tried a new approach.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Life needs to be more than just solving problems every day. You need to wake up and be excited about the future.
Elon Musk
He doesn’t say, ‘You have to do this by Friday at two P.M.,’” Brogan said. “He says, ‘I need the impossible done by Friday at two P.M. Can you do it?’ Then, when you say yes, you are not working hard because he told you to. You’re working hard for yourself. It’s a distinction you can feel.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I’m not sure why I’d want to talk about extremely sad events. It does no good for the future. If you’ve got other kids and obligations, then wallowing in sadness does no good for anyone around you. I’m not sure what should be done in such situations.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
There is a fundamental problem with regulators. If a regulator agrees to change a rule and something bad happens, they could easily lose their career. Whereas if they change a rule and something good happens, they don’t even get a reward. So, it’s very asymmetric. It’s then very easy to understand why regulators resist changing the rules. It’s because there’s a big punishment on one side and no reward on the other. How would any rational person behave in such a scenario?
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
You don’t know what you don’t know. You realize there are all these things out there.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Separating the design of a product from its engineering was a recipe for dysfunction. Designers had to feel the immediate pain if something they devised was hard to engineer.
Walter Isaacson (Elon Musk)
But there is now a degree to which you have to ask whether his success is an indictment on the rest of us who have been working on much more incremental things. To the extent that the world still doubts Elon, I think it's a reflection on the insanity of the world and not on the supposed insanity of Elon. - Peter Thiel on Elon Musk
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
When I was a little kid, I was really scared of the dark. But then I came to understand, dark just means the absence of photons in the visible wavelength--400 to 700 nanometers. Then I thought, well, it's really silly to be afraid of a lack of photons. Then I wasn't afraid of the dark anymore after that.
Elon Musk
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. —Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson (Elon Musk)
It bothers Musk a bit that his kids won’t suffer like he did. He feels that the suffering helped to make him who he is and gave him extra reserves of strength and will. “They might have a little adversity at school, but these days schools are so protective,” he said. “If you call someone a name, you get sent home. When I was going to school, if they punched you and there was no blood, it was like, ‘Whatever. Shake it off.’ Even if there was a little blood, but not a lot, it was fine. What do I do? Create artificial adversity? How do you do that? The biggest battle I have is restricting their video game time because they want to play all the time. The rule is they have to read more than they play video games. They also can’t play completely stupid video games. There’s one game they downloaded recently called Cookies or something. You literally tap a fucking cookie. It’s like a Psych 101 experiment. I made them delete the cookie game. They had to play Flappy Golf instead, which is like Flappy Bird, but at least there is some physics involved.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future
Elon Musk
Don't confuse schooling with education. I didn't go to Harvard but the people that work for me did.
Elon Musk (Elon Musk (Quotes from the Greatest Entrepreneurs))
I really like computer games, but then if I made really great computer games, how much effect would that have on the world,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Step one should be to question the requirements,” he says. “Make them less wrong and dumb, because all requirements are somewhat wrong and dumb. And then delete, delete, delete.
Walter Isaacson (Elon Musk)
Physics could teach everything about the universe except why. That led to what he calls his adolescent existential crisis. “I began trying to figure out what the meaning of life and the universe was,” he says. “And I got real depressed about it, like maybe life may have no meaning.
Walter Isaacson (Elon Musk)
You need to live in a dome initially, but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on... So it's a fixer-upper of a planet.
Elon Musk
When we first talked about the touch-screen, the guys came back and said, ‘There’s nothing like that in the automotive supply chain,’” Musk said. “I said, ‘I know. That’s because it’s never been put in a fucking car before.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Do you think I'm insane?
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.” Early
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
If you buy a ticket to hell, it isn't fair to blame hell.
Elon Musk
I really like computer games, but then if I made really great computer games, how much effect would that have on the world.
Elon Musk (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
As the first dozen or so employees came to the offices, they were told that SpaceX’s mission would be to emerge as the “Southwest Airlines of Space.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Reading remained Musk’s psychological retreat. Sometimes he would immerse himself in books all afternoon and most of the night, nine hours at a stretch.
Walter Isaacson (Elon Musk)
My children didn't choose to be born, I chose to have children. They owe me nothing, I owe them everything
Elon Musk
The idea of lying on a beach as my main thing just sounds like the worst — it sounds horrible to me. I would go bonkers. I would have to be on serious drugs. I’d be super-duper bored. I like high intensity.
Elon Musk
In the years that followed, the goal went from taking huge risks to create new industries and grand new ideas, to chasing easier money by entertaining consumers and pumping out simple apps and advertisements. “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” Jeff Hammerbacher, an early Facebook engineer, told me. “That sucks.” Silicon Valley began to look an awful lot like Hollywood.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.
Elon Musk
He’d started the company to put a dent in the automotive industry and force people to rethink electric cars.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.
Elon Musk
I'm not trying to be anyone's savior. I just try to think about the future and not be sad
Elon Musk
Stop being patient and start asking yourself, how do I accomplish my 10-year plan in 6 months? You will probably fail but you will be a lot further ahead of the person who simply accepted it was going to take 10 years.
Elon Musk
He points out that one of the really tough things is figuring out what questions to ask,” Musk said. “Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy. I came to the conclusion that really we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask.” The teenage Musk then arrived at his ultralogical mission statement. “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment,” he said.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Musk sampled a handful of ideologies and then ended up more or less back where he had started, embracing the sci-fi lessons found in one of the most influential books in his life: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
That’s part of what separates Elon from mere mortals,” said Ed Ho, the former Zip2 executive, who went on to cofound X.com. “He’s willing to take an insane amount of personal risk. When you do a deal like that, it either pays off or you end up in a bus shelter somewhere.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Elon Musk (of Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity), Jeff Bezos (of Amazon), and Reed Hastings (of Netflix) are other great shapers from the business world. In philanthropy, Muhammad Yunus (of Grameen), Geoffrey Canada (of Harlem Children’s Zone), and Wendy Kopp (of Teach for America) come to mind; and in government, Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lee Kuan Yew, and Deng Xiaoping. Bill Gates has been a shaper in both business and philanthropy, as was Andrew Carnegie. Mike Bloomberg has been a shaper in business, philanthropy, and government. Einstein, Freud, Darwin, and Newton were giant shapers in the sciences. Christ, Muhammad, and the Buddha were religious shapers. They all had original visions and successfully built them out.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
It’s pretty hard to get to another star system. Alpha Centauri is four light years away, so if you go at 10 per cent of the speed of light, it’s going to take you 40 years, and that’s assuming you can instantly reach that speed, which isn’t going to be the case. You have to accelerate. You have to build up to 20 or 30 per cent and then slow down, assuming you want to stay at Alpha Centauri and not go zipping past. It’s just hard. With current life spans, you need generational ships. You need antimatter drives, because that’s the most mass-efficient. It’s doable, but it’s super slow.
Elon Musk
From time to time, Musk will send out an e-mail to the entire company to enforce a new policy or let them know about something that’s bothering him. One of the more famous e-mails arrived in May 2010 with the subject line: Acronyms Seriously Suck: There is a creeping tendency to use made up acronyms at SpaceX. Excessive use of made up acronyms is a significant impediment to communication and keeping communication good as we grow is incredibly important. Individually, a few acronyms here and there may not seem so bad, but if a thousand people are making these up, over time the result will be a huge glossary that we have to issue to new employees. No one can actually remember all these acronyms and people don’t want to seem dumb in a meeting, so they just sit there in ignorance. This is particularly tough on new employees. That needs to stop immediately or I will take drastic action—I have given enough warnings over the years. Unless an acronym is approved by me, it should not enter the SpaceX glossary. If there is an existing acronym that cannot reasonably be justified, it should be eliminated, as I have requested in the past. For example, there should be no “HTS” [horizontal test stand] or “VTS” [vertical test stand] designations for test stands. Those are particularly dumb, as they contain unnecessary words. A “stand” at our test site is obviously a *test* stand. VTS-3 is four syllables compared with “Tripod,” which is two, so the bloody acronym version actually takes longer to say than the name! The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication. An acronym that most engineers outside of SpaceX already know, such as GUI, is fine to use. It is also ok to make up a few acronyms/contractions every now and again, assuming I have approved them, eg MVac and M9 instead of Merlin 1C-Vacuum or Merlin 1C-Sea Level, but those need to be kept to a minimum.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Whatever area that you get into, given that, even if you're the best of the best, there's always a chance of failure. So, I think it's important that you really like whatever you're doing. If you don't like it, life is too short. And also, if you like what you are doing, you think about it even when you are not working. It's something your mind drawn to. And if you don't like it, you just really can't make it work I think.
Elon Musk
Then I spoke with proven shapers I knew—Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Reed Hastings, Muhammad Yunus, Geoffrey Canada, Jack Dorsey (of Twitter), David Kelley (of IDEO), and more. They had all visualized remarkable concepts and built organizations to actualize them, and done that repeatedly and over long periods of time. I asked them to take an hour’s worth of personality assessments to discover their values, abilities, and approaches. While not perfect, these assessments have been invaluable. (In fact, I have been adapting and refining them to help us in our recruiting and management.) The answers these shapers provided to the standardized questions gave me objective and statistically measurable evidence about their similarities and differences. It turns out they have a lot in common. They are all independent thinkers who do not let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving their audacious goals. They have very strong mental maps of how things should be done, and at the same time a willingness to test those mental maps in the world of reality and change the ways they do things to make them work better. They are extremely resilient, because their need to achieve what they envision is stronger than the pain they experience as they struggle to achieve it. Perhaps most interesting, they have a wider range of vision than most people, either because they have that vision themselves or because they know how to get it from others who can see what they can’t. All are able to see both big pictures and granular details (and levels in between) and synthesize the perspectives they gain at those different levels, whereas most people see just one or the other. They are simultaneously creative, systematic, and practical. They are assertive and open-minded at the same time. Above all, they are passionate about what they are doing, intolerant of people who work for them who aren’t excellent at what they do, and want to have a big, beneficial impact on the world.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I think generally people’s thinking process is too bound by convention or analogy to prior experiences. It’s rare that people try to think of something on a first principles basis. They’ll say, “We’ll do that because it’s always been done that way.” Or they’ll not do it because “Well, nobody’s ever done that, so it must not be good.” But that’s just a ridiculous way to think. You have to build up the reasoning from the ground up—“from the first principles
Tim Urban (The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why)
Around 2010, Peter Thiel, the PayPal cofounder and early Facebook investor, began promoting the idea that the technology industry had let people down. “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters” became the tagline of his venture capital firm Founders Fund. In an essay called “What Happened to the Future,” Thiel and his cohorts described how Twitter, its 140-character messages, and similar inventions have let the public down. He argued that science fiction, which once celebrated the future, has turned dystopian because people no longer have an optimistic view of technology’s ability to change the world. I
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Page holds Musk up as a model he wishes others would emulate—a figure that should be replicated during a time in which the businessmen and politicians have fixated on short-term, inconsequential goals. “I don’t think we’re doing a good job as a society deciding what things are really important to do,” Page said. “I think like we’re just not educating people in this kind of general way. You should have a pretty broad engineering and scientific background. You should have some leadership training and a bit of MBA training or knowledge of how to run things, organize stuff, and raise money. I don’t think most people are doing that, and it’s a big problem. Engineers are usually trained in a very fixed area. When you’re able to think about all of these disciplines together, you kind of think differently and can dream of much crazier things and how they might work. I think that’s really an important thing for the world. That’s how we make progress.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Musk has talked about having more kids, and it’s on this subject that he delivers some controversial philosophizing vis-à-vis the creator of Beavis and Butt-head. “There’s this point that Mike Judge makes in Idiocracy, which is like smart people, you know, should at least sustain their numbers,” Musk said. “Like, if it’s a negative Darwinian vector, then obviously that’s not a good thing. It should be at least neutral. But if each successive generation of smart people has fewer kids, that’s probably bad, too. I mean, Europe, Japan, Russia, China are all headed for demographic implosion. And the fact of the matter is that basically the wealthier—basically wealth, education, and being secular are all indicative of low birth rate. They all correlate with low birth rate. I’m not saying like only smart people should have kids. I’m just saying that smart people should have kids as well. They should at least maintain—at least be a replacement rate. And the fact of the matter is that I notice that a lot of really smart women have zero or one kid. You’re like, ‘Wow, that’s probably not good.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
For Gracias, the Tesla and SpaceX investor and Musk’s friend, the 2008 period told him everything he would ever need to know about Musk’s character. He saw a man who arrived in the United States with nothing, who had lost a child, who was being pilloried in the press by reporters and his ex-wife and who verged on having his life’s work destroyed. “He has the ability to work harder and endure more stress than anyone I’ve ever met,” Gracias said. “What he went through in 2008 would have broken anyone else. He didn’t just survive. He kept working and stayed focused.” That ability to stay focused in the midst of a crisis stands as one of Musk’s main advantages over other executives and competitors. “Most people who are under that sort of pressure fray,” Gracias said. “Their decisions go bad. Elon gets hyperrational. He’s still able to make very clear, long-term decisions. The harder it gets, the better he gets. Anyone who saw what he went through firsthand came away with more respect for the guy. I’ve just never seen anything like his ability to take pain.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
1. Question every requirement. Each should come with the name of the person who made it. You should never accept that a requirement came from a department, such as from “the legal department” or “the safety department.” You need to know the name of the real person who made that requirement. Then you should question it, no matter how smart that person is. Requirements from smart people are the most dangerous, because people are less likely to question them. Always do so, even if the requirement came from me. Then make the requirements less dumb. 2. Delete any part or process you can. You may have to add them back later. In fact, if you do not end up adding back at least 10% of them, then you didn’t delete enough. 3. Simplify and optimize. This should come after step two. A common mistake is to simplify and optimize a part or a process that should not exist. 4. Accelerate cycle time. Every process can be speeded up. But only do this after you have followed the first three steps. In the Tesla factory, I mistakenly spent a lot of time accelerating processes that I later realized should have been deleted. 5. Automate. That comes last. The big mistake in Nevada and at Fremont was that I began by trying to automate every step. We should have waited until all the requirements had been questioned, parts and processes deleted, and the bugs were shaken out.
Walter Isaacson (Elon Musk)
There needs to be an intersection of the set of people who wish to go, and the set of people who can afford to go...and that intersection of sets has to be enough to establish a self-sustaining civilisation. My rough guess is that for a half-million dollars, there are enough people that could afford to go and would want to go. But it’s not going to be a vacation jaunt. It’s going to be saving up all your money and selling all your stuff, like when people moved to the early American colonies...even at a million people you’re assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil.Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we’re talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship...If we can establish a Mars colony, we can almost certainly colonise the whole Solar System, because we’ll have created a strong economic forcing function for the improvement of space travel. We’ll go to the moons of Jupiter, at least some of the outer ones for sure, and probably Titan on Saturn, and the asteroids. Once we have that forcing function, and an Earth-to-Mars economy, we’ll cover the whole Solar System. But the key is that we have to make the Mars thing work. If we’re going to have any chance of sending stuff to other star systems, we need to be laser-focused on becoming a multi-planet civilisation. That’s the next step.
Elon Musk
There can be no question that Musk has mastered the art of getting the most out of his employees. Interview three dozen SpaceX engineers and each one of them will have picked up on a managerial nuance that Musk has used to get people to meet his deadlines. One example from Brogan: Where a typical manager may set the deadline for the employee, Musk guides his engineers into taking ownership of their own delivery dates. “He doesn’t say, ‘You have to do this by Friday at two P.M.,’” Brogan said. “He says, ‘I need the impossible done by Friday at two P.M. Can you do it?’ Then, when you say yes, you are not working hard because he told you to. You’re working hard for yourself. It’s a distinction you can feel. You have signed up to do your own work.” And by recruiting hundreds of bright, self-motivated people, SpaceX has maximized the power of the individual. One person putting in a sixteen-hour day ends up being much more effective than two people working eight-hour days together. The individual doesn’t have to hold meetings, reach a consensus, or bring other people up to speed on a project. He just keeps working and working and working. The ideal SpaceX employee is someone like Steve Davis, the director of advanced projects at SpaceX. “He’s been working sixteen hours a day every day for years,” Brogan said. “He gets more done than eleven people working together.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)